Western Price Survey
October 11, 2013
Power prices in the Northwest rose slightly over the week as wind generation in the region tapered off and natural gas prices jumped.
While hydro generation at the Bonneville Power Administration stayed relatively ahead of demand, wind generation was at a lull. Wind generation stayed under 500 MW between Oct. 4 and the afternoon of Oct. 6. Average peak-power prices at Northwest hubs gained between roughly $4.60 and almost $6.70/MWh in the Oct. 4 to Oct. 11 trading period.
Elsewhere, South of Path 15 power shed $2.20 on average to end at $41.75/MWh, while Palo Verde peak power was relatively static, up about 90 cents to $34.20/MWh (see chart).
Off-peak power prices were generally higher in Friday-to-Friday trading, with Western hubs posting gains between 90 cents and almost $3.30. Prices Oct. 11 ranged from $30.46/MWh at Palo Verde to $33.75 at COB. California hubs posted no trades Friday.
Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 31,408 MW Oct. 7, which should be the week's high. Demand is down 650 MW compared to last week's peak of 32,058 MW.
Working gas in storage reached 3,577 Bcf as of Friday, Oct. 4, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 90 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 3.7 percent less than a year ago and 1.6 percent greater than the five-year average.
The addition was less than market expectations, which were reportedly around 94 Bcf. Additions to in-ventory are being scrutinized as the end of the storage season approaches. "If injections follow the five-year average rate, storage is on track for a 3.8 Tcf finish by the end of October," noted Barclays analysts in their weekly report. "However, we expect them to exceed that average and believe storage is likely to finish the injection season above 3.8 Tcf."
Henry Hub natural gas values rose 16 cents since last Friday, trading Oct. 11 at $3.72/MMBtu. Western natural gas prices followed suit. Southern California Border gas gained 16 cents to $3.72/MMBtu while PG&E CityGate rose 15 cents, trading at almost $4.02 Friday.
The gains in natural gas prices were attributed to long-term weather forecasts predicting colder condi-tions across much of the country, according to Enerfax.
What's ahead: The National Weather Service forecasts an increased probability of above-normal temperatures from Washington into Northern Califor-nia from Oct. 16 to Oct. 24. During that same period, Southern California should have seasonally normal temperatures [Linda Dailey Paulson].
Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.
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